Friday, June 10, 2011

Dummy, Dumb, Dami

Dear insansapinas,

When I was small, all I know is I loved going to the sari-sari store to buy candies. During dinner time, I often heard the old folks talked about dummy when they referred to the Filipina wife of the Intsik who owned the sari-sari store in the street corner. Kala ko dami ang ibig sabihin. Yon pala, dummy nga. I do not mean dumb person or a mannequin. Later I learned that they were not legal wives but just kunwari-asawa-para-makaengage -sa-retail industry. Only Filipino citizens were allowed to engage in retail trade  business like sari-store noon with the promulgation of RA 1180. In 2000,  RA 8762. repealed and amended some provisions liberalizing the retail trade policies, e.g. pwede na ang foreigners mag-invest. 

 Pero tanggap naman ng mga Pinoys yon noon dahil mas mura raw sa mga Intsik. Kung minsan makakahingi ka pa ng extra. Ang utang  lista pa sa dingding. 

I had a classmate whose sister was a dummy of a small retaurant near UST. Mabenta ang resto. Malapit ba naman sa school.  The sister was no read, no write. She was a teenager working as one of the waitresses when the old man "married" her. Supporting a big family in the province, she agreed to live in with him. They did not have a child. At the rate, the resto was making money, I expected her to have lots of money.

She served him like a king, washing his feet every night, taking care of him when he got sick and living in the apartment when they should have a house of their own.

Then he died. I was expecting her to own the business, It was in her name. One day as I waited for her sister, she asked help from me. She said that she was going to deposit the money where it will earn interest. It was the money that she was able to save on her own. The money she did not spend which deprived her some luxuries and comfort. She would eat bagoong alamang ang would walk several kilometers to save a few pesos for jeepney fare.

Avoiding to appear nosey (habit ko na yata yon), I asked her what happened to the business? She said that the real wife came and sold it to fellow Intsik. 

Why am I discussing this?

Because it turned out that 30 per cent of fish cages that suffered fishkill are owned by foreigners-Taiwanese and Korean. 

An article written by the late  Aleks Pabico of PCIJ revealed that warnings had been made to the fish pen operators on the proliferation of fish pens and cages which depleted the oxygen level but these had fallen into deaf ears because most of the owners are politicians, rich people and foreign investors.

There were not even ordinances to regulate the operation and if ever there are, they will be useless. As my favorite novelist would say, it is easy to make business in third world countries where everyone can be bought--from the inspector to the judge and even legislators.

The case of black coral reef plunder is in the same predicament. It is the foreigners who are raping our natural resources because the local people who are motivated by greed either look the other way or join the fray of making money illegally. 

The sari-sari stores are now left to Filipinos but the  bigger businesses are still  in the hands of foreigners. 


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